GGW Picture This Photo Contest Winner

– Posted in: Garden Photography

 hot-cocoa-floribunda resized

 A big thank you to all who entered and an ovation for your rose photos. Many of our 31 entrants submitted the full allotment of three photos, so I had close to 100 to judge—a daunting yet delightful task.

Our winner Tes seduced me with her tight shot of ‘Hot Cocoa’. I like the way the way sunlight shines through the water drops. Exquisite lighting also emphasizes the translucence of the petals and their felty texture. The lines draw the viewer into the center of the flower, and by illustrating the bloom’s intrinsic geometry, interpret the concept of “rose” in a fresh new way.  Tes, take a bow!

sisley resized

 Abby, from England, showed me a unusual rose I’d love to have in my own garden. She positioned the center of ‘Alfred Sisley’ in the upper quadrant of the photo rather than smack in the middle. This makes the composition dynamic; layers of frilly petals swirl downward like a Spanish dancer’s skirts. Splashes of color on the petals enhance the suggestion of motion and make this a photo worthy of framing—and forwarding. Soft lighting creates a dreamy mood and the butter-yellow in the flower’s interior makes it glow.


Frog, larger photo resized

Jamie’s entry of a frog peering out from the petals of ‘Vanilla Perfume’ made me laugh. It’s one of those lucky shots where the wildlife hung around long enough for the gardener to grab a camera. 

Ellen Spector Platt

 It’s tricky to photograph rose bushes in a landscape, so my hat’s off to Ellen Spector Platt for her shot of  ‘New Dawn’ escaping her rooftop garden (complete with city skyline in the background). Notice the shadows on the ledge and the way the roses are backlit. Now, Ellen, tell us: Where were you standing when you took this?

Lady Banks resized

 I grow ‘Lady Banks’ and know how hard it is to photograph, so Randy’s portrait of this climber impressed me. Every petal is perfect. It’s a great composition, with good depth of field and fully opened flowers adjacent to lovely buds. His shots of ‘Peace’ and ‘New Dawn’ are terrific, too.

A challenge some entrants contended with is the way red, orange and deep pink hues can become oversaturated and garish, and make the flower indistinct. This may be a camera glitch or the result of Photoshopping. Other uh-ohs include poor depth of field, unfortunate light (manifested by white spots and black holes), and making the judge hunt high and low on a site for rose photos—or the right rose photos. And, it’s OK to crop photos to emphasize the subject—for example, I would have liked to see less of the black background in the photo of the yelllow rose below.

OK, now for a few kudos. They’re in no particular order; I’ve uploaded a few photos and hope you’ll visit the sites to see more.

Susie, first out of the starting gate, wowed me with a gorgeous photo of ‘Sally Holmes’. Her cluster of pale pink, yellow-centered single-petal roses beautifully includes coral buds.

Donna’s yummy shot of ‘Hot Cocoa’ shows the flower fully open and flaunting its rich blend of burgundy and mauve-pink.

 White rose, patient gardener

Patient Gardener’s unnamed white rose is laced with cream, and the presentation is gorgeous, taken from the side, with soft light brightening the inner petals.

Evelyn’s photo of ‘Marilyn Monroe’ perfectly captures a pristine, delicate peach bloom. When I saw this, I immediately envisioned the bouquet of a virginal bride…though I suspect dear Marilyn wasn’t.


Meadowwood Garden’s memorable entry of a yellow rose is strongly lighted against a black background. The photo sings (and the rose looks real) thanks to a solo drop of dew. And speaking of dew, J. Neff’s ‘Strike It Rich’  is so encrusted with dew it appears sugared.


Leslie captured ‘Brandy’ perfectly in bud. Her shot of ‘French Perfume’ (above) shows its lovely red-white-and-cream coloration—a reminder that its petals are like photo-sensitive paper; the more sun they’re exposed to, the deeper the color.


 One of the best landscape shots was Phil Oliver’s photo of a hybrid musk rose about to engulf a bench. He caught the rose at the right time—there’s nary a petal out of place.

Joanne’s love for David Austin roses shines through her photography; I could almost smell their perfume. Her shot of ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ shows it in every stage, from tight bud through fully blown.


Elizabeth Licata submitted one of the few roses-in-a-vase photos, showing red roses near curtains patterned with red flowers—a pleasing repetition not to mention a great idea. I also like her shot of the bush exploding with red roses up against a brick house. Elizabeth — who was contestant No. 27 — revitalized me with her cheery “this is fun” response. She as well as several others also thanked GGW for providing, via this contest, a good blog topic.

And, Joco…although the three photos you submitted were lovely, I swooned over others on the same page—especially the plateful of roses—which is creative and unusual. I enjoyed your posting, too—I could hear your British English.

Certain regional blogs so captivated me, I almost forgot my mission. Layanee gardens in misty Rhode Island, Dee Nash in Oklahoma, Nicole on an island in the Caribbean, Texas Deb in Austin, Heirloom Gardener in New Jersey,  Pat cheerfully in Massachusetts, and Mr. McGregor’s Daughter — who calls her garden Squirrelhaven — in central Illinois. Ilona grows hundreds of rose varieties on her Southern farm; do check out her lovely shot of pink, cuplike ‘Paul Neyron’.

Last but not least, many thanks to the sources of the prize package. Campania International provided a Campania Amalfi Garland Lightweight Planter in Antique Terra Cotta; Organic Mechanics, a bag of their excellent Container Blend Potting Soil, and Waterstik, three Indoor Plant Moisture Sensors.  I urge you to visit their websites as well.

Now, tell us…what do you think might make a good subject for future Picture This photo contests?

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
24 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Tes/Teresa~Gardening with Soule June 27, 2009, 6:19 pm

Wow, I am thrilled that you chose my hot cocoa rose phototgraph. That is a great honor. I thought your choices were very difficult to choose from, there were so many great pictures! Thank you very much!
Hi, Tes — Great job, and very well deserved! — Debra

Lee Reich June 27, 2009, 6:42 pm

Wonderful photos and glad to see some David Austin rose included. My favorites are Dark Lady and Bibi Mazon.

Helen at Toronto Gardens June 27, 2009, 7:09 pm

Lovely shots, all of them. And great roses!

Ellen Spector Platt June 27, 2009, 7:14 pm

I could say that I was walking on the outside ledge hanging onto the steel fence, anything for the shot!
Actually the terrace goes around at a right angles, so all I had to do was push the lens between the bars.
Its always a challenge to garden (and photograph) in the City.

Lisa at Greenbow June 27, 2009, 7:23 pm

Congratulations to the winners and the honorable mentions. I must say choosing a winner must have been a difficult task. All are just magnificent.

Leslie June 27, 2009, 7:27 pm

I agree you had a lot of work in judging and a difficult choice. What wonderful photos! Thank you again for hosting this contest.

Muum June 27, 2009, 7:29 pm

those would be hard to pick ‘the best’ from. I esp love the Alfred Sisley, and i usually am not a fan of the ‘splashed’ look.

Dee June 27, 2009, 10:48 pm

Congratulations to Tes. ‘Hot Cocoa’ never looked better. A difficult task to be sure. Thanks again for the contest. It was fun.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter June 27, 2009, 11:11 pm

Fruits of the garden would be a good photo contest subject, luscious tomatoes, beautiful lettuce, colorful peppers….I think I’ll go have a salad now.

eliz June 27, 2009, 11:45 pm

Thanks for reposting my vase image; it is flattering to have my very ordinary rose and image in such august company!

Cameron(Defining Your Home Garden) June 28, 2009, 7:39 am

Congratulations! All of these photos are just marvelous (and I’m sure the roses are even more so).


Ilona June 28, 2009, 9:02 am

Such lovely photos, all… and the winners are so well deserved. I loved the creativity in the gardens, and in the photos.

I have to correct your information about me…. I garden in Ohio soil on a couple acres, and though I’ve grown ( and lost) many roses, the hundreds belong to the Rose Park of Columbus ( where I photographed ‘Paul Neyron’.

Your efforts and artistic advice has been so appreciated 🙂

Meadowwood Garden June 28, 2009, 9:26 am

Congrats to everyone! Appreciate being able to participate in such a fun contest.

Raji June 28, 2009, 11:21 am

Congrats Tes..that was a beautiful picture..
wonderful shots and roses..

Debra Lee Baldwin June 28, 2009, 11:42 am

Many thanks to all who took the time to comment. I’m very pleased you enjoyed the photo contest and viewing the winners. You are all so talented! Not only do you grow gorgeous roses, you take great shots of them, too. My only regret is that your photos couldn’t capture their scents—some of those David Austin varieties, in particular, must be marvelous. — Debra

Randy June 28, 2009, 5:37 pm

Congrats to Tes! Well done! Debra I don’t envy you having to make such a hard decision. So many lovely shots of the queen of all flowers. This was fun!

Susie June 28, 2009, 5:54 pm

Congrats to everyone, all the photos were beautiful, such lovely gardens. But I too loved the “Hot Cocoa’, congrats Tes!

Peggi Ridgway June 28, 2009, 8:26 pm

Wow! The rose entries are stunning, to say the least. I can almost imagine a whiff of their exquisite fragrance…

Craig @ Ellis Hollow June 30, 2009, 8:09 pm

No roses blooming here at deadline. Oh well. If it had been a couple weeks later, I could have entered:

TexasDeb July 1, 2009, 10:17 am

Hats off to photographers and our intrepid judge alike. Wonderful work in evidence all around – so much talent as well!

That frog in the rose shot absolutely captivated my imagination – perhaps that would be a fun future Picture This – “Fauna in the Flora??

Joanne July 1, 2009, 10:36 am

What a lovely contest. So much usful information and so many lovely photos to drool over.

I know I am biased with my love of clematis but I would enjoy a contest of clematis shots. Although as I am new to this you may already have done one.

The prizes are not important it is the entering and sharing that is fun.

healingmagichands July 1, 2009, 4:54 pm

Congratulations to Tess. That was a truly beautiful shot.

I like the Fauna in the Flora idea a lot.

Commonweeder July 2, 2009, 8:46 am

This was a great contest with great contestants. The photos are all gorgeous. I also wondered how that city rose photo was taken and glad that she explained. I think we all need a rose or two.

Debra Lee Baldwin July 2, 2009, 8:19 pm

Hi, all — I love your ideas for future contests! Thank you for being supportive and encouraging of the efforts of a newbie judge. I want to apologize to anyone who might have wondered why he or she was not in my list of notables. You ALL submitted gorgeous shots, and every blogsite is well worth visiting (and I’m not just saying that—the quality blew me away). But time and space constraints required me to cut things short. I’m looking forward to the next Picture This photo contest—judge Rob Cardillo is an incredible photographer with a great eye, and I have no doubt you’ll wow him! — Debra

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